Three More Teens Charged in Killing of County Police Officer | WYPR

Three More Teens Charged in Killing of County Police Officer

May 23, 2018

16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris
Credit Baltimore County Police Department

Three more teens have been charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of a Baltimore County police officer, authorities said Wednesday.

Fifteeen-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews, and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV were charged in the killing of officer Amy Caprio. 

At a court hearing Wednesday, Ward and Matthews waived their right to appear, and a judge ordered them held without bond at an adult lockup. Genius appeared through video and requested a postponement because his lawyer could not attend Wednesday. The judge agreed.

The three, who were taken into custody Tuesday in Baltimore, are also charged with first-degree burglary. 

A fourth suspect, 16-year-old Dawnta Anthony Harris, is also charged with first-degree murder and was ordered held without bond after a hearing Tuesday in which a judge described him as a "one-man crime wave." 

A defense lawyer requested that Harris be sent to a juvenile lockup, but prosecutors noted his series of auto theft arrests and a repeated history of running away from juvenile facilities.

Caprio was run down Monday by a stolen Jeep allegedly driven by Harris after she responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Linwen Way in Perry Hall, investigators have said.

The slain officer's body camera footage clearly shows Harris accelerating the Jeep at her after she tried to arrest him on the cul-de-sac in the suburban community northeast of Baltimore, prosecutor William Bickel said during a bail hearing Tuesday.

"She fired her weapon. He ran over her," Bickel said.

The three other teens were burglarizing a home while Harris was in the Jeep, according to authorities and court documents.

But Shellenberger said Tuesday that Maryland's felony murder law means they can also be held responsible "for everything that occurs as a result of that burglary, including when their co-defendant is outside running over a police officer and killing her."

Harris was apprehended shortly after abandoning the Jeep, which had been stolen May 18 in Baltimore, he said. According to a probable cause statement, Harris admitted as much, telling a detective that he "drove at the officer."

Harris was supposed to be on house arrest and was still wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet when he ran down Caprio, authorities said. The ninth-grader was on house arrest at his mother's West Baltimore home, but ran away May 14, they said.

Sam Abed, the Maryland Secretary of Juvenile Services, said at a news conference that his department had made "many attempts" to contact Harris after he went missing from his mother's house but was unsuccessful.

The ankle bracelet Harris was wearing Monday simply indicated whether he was inside or outside his home — it did not track his whereabouts, Shellenberger said.

"Did the system not work?" Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan asked. "It sounds like ... it could have worked better in this particular case."

Caprio, who would have been on the force four years in July, was smart, athletic and energetic, just the type of officer you want to hire, Sheridan said. She and her husband were to start vacation this weekend to celebrate their third wedding anniversary and their upcoming birthdays, police said.

A medical examiner determined she died of trauma to the head and torso, according to Sheridan.

At last night's Baltimore County Council meeting, there was a moment of silence for Caprio.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who lives near the neighborhood where Caprio was killed, thanked law enforcement officials for their swift response on Monday as well as the educators who sheltered around two thousand students in local schools while police were searching for suspects.

"We stand united in our grief," Marks said.